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This article was updated more than 6 months ago. Some information may be outdated.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has released an important update regarding the status of Saudi citizens studying in Canada.

Additional proof of funds is now required from some Saudi Arabian students who apply for a new study permit or study permit extension. However, students and other stakeholders may be breathing a sigh of relief that the possibility of studying in Canada remains open to them.

A diplomatic feud during the summer led to the Government of Saudi Arabia announcing that it was cancelling the funding of its scholarship programs in Canada, effective August 31, 2018, and that all Saudi Arabian students in Canada were to leave the country by the end of the summer season (September 22, 2018). Students from Saudi Arabia were asked to have their scholarships transferred to other countries to continue their studies.

However, the latest update, confirmed by the Saudi Ministry of Education, establishes that scholarships remain in place for all medical trainees. These trainees include physicians, dentists and nurses (including dependents).

The Saudi Ministry of Education also made the decision to allow Saudi scholarship students (including dependents), currently on authorized leave from their Canadian studies, to rejoin their academic programs, beginning either in the fall or winter term. The following students (who may be bringing dependents with them) are now eligible for, and will receive, new financial scholarships issued by the Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau:

  • medical trainees, which includes physicians, dentists and nurses;
  • graduate (master’s and Ph.D.) students in all academic disciplines; and
  • undergraduate scholarship students in the final year of their bachelor programs.

IRCC will only consider financial sponsorship certificates from Saudi Arabia as valid proof of funds for applications for study permits and study permit extensions from students (including dependents) who are any of the same programs listed above.

Other situations for Saudi Arabian students

If a Saudi Arabian student is making a new application for a study permit or study permit extension that includes a scholarship from Saudi Arabia as the sole proof of funds for students (including dependents), IRCC officers have been instructed to:

  • request additional proof of funds from the applicant; and
  • allow 30 days for the applicant to provide the proof of funds.

Essentially, this gives Saudi students inside and outside Canada an opportunity to apply for a study permit or study permit extension, even if they are not in the fields and levels of study outlined above.

If after 30 days additional proof of funds is provided by the applicant, IRCC officers are instructed to assess the application, taking into consideration the new proof of funds.

If no additional proof of funds is provided within the specified time frame, and the officer is not satisfied that the student will be able to pay for tuition, maintain themselves and accompanying family members during their stay and pay for any necessary transportation costs for themselves and their family members, IRCC officers are instructed to refuse the application.

Applications for study permits and study permit extensions from Saudi Arabian nationals that do not include a scholarship from Saudi Arabia, but include other proof of funds, are to be processed as usual as found under the instructions Study permits: Final decisions.

Moving2Canada has a brand new section for students. Here are some helpful resources to help you get started:

About the author

Hugo O'Doherty profile picture

Hugo O'Doherty

Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
Citation "Saudi Arabian students will be able to study in Canada after all." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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